''Or'' replaces ''and'': Typo error in Armed Forces Tribunal Act

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New Delhi, Jul 1 (UNI) Even before the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) -- which allows defence forces personnel the right to appeal -- could be formed, a typographical error has forced the government to bring an ordinance to rectify the mistake.

Defence Ministry sources said in one of the sections of the Act, the word ''Or'' was replaced by ''And''. ''It is essential to rectify the error,'' said an official.

Officials of the Defence Ministry received a dressing down from Defence Minister A K Antony when he was informed of the blunder.

Antony wondered how such an error could take place when the Act was read at various stages by officials concerned.

The officials explained that the mistake took place at the printing stage.

An ordinance is one way out. A draft cabinet note to bring the ordinance has been prepared and Defence (Finance) has concurred, in principle, for the same.

The Centre had issued a Gazatte notification on June 15 declaring the formation of AFT. Mr Antony has asked the Ministry to finalise the chairman and administrative and legal members of the proposed Tribunal by July 15.

On Independence Day this year, the principal bench of the proposed Tribunal will be inaugurated in the National Capital. With the formation of the bench, almost 4,000 cases related to soldiers pending in the Delhi High Court will get transferred to the principal bench. The eight other regional benches will get another 8,000 cases relating to armed forces personnel.

The Defence Ministry has already approached the Supreme Court seeking the Chief Justice of India's nomination for the post of chairperson of the Tribunal as well as appointment of chairperson, selection committee. Principal Registrars of various High Courts have also been requested to forward nominations for appointment to 17 posts of judicial members.

The notification for the formation of benches will be issued in phases -- the first phase will notify the creation of Principal Bench and the other will anounce the setting up of regional benches.


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